This African Safari River Cruise Will Take You to 4 Countries in 9 Days
The United States may have the Four Corners — a place where Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico intersect — but southern Africa has something even more special: the only place in the world where four countries come together.
There’s no monument to mark the spot and no way to stand in all four countries at once. It’s on the water where crocodiles and hippos make their home and the Zambezi and Chobe rivers collide that Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe converge.
This is a place where borders are porous, mobile service is spotty, and tourism infrastructure is still developing. As an individual traveler without solid water navigation skills and a boat, it would be difficult to find.
A better way to experience this unique area? CroisiEurope’s southern Africa river cruise. The French river cruise operator pairs a river cruise and a luxury lodge to create a safari experience that spans five countries in just nine days.
CroisiEurope’s itinerary starts with a night in Johannesburg and visits to the Apartheid Museum, a former Nelson Mandela home, and the township Soweto.
Day two whisks travelers away by commercial flight to Kasane International Airport at the edge of Botswana, where the journey to CroisiEurope’s private lodge in Namibia continues by flat bottom boat.
Two border crossings and a short river safari later, guests arrive on the private island that’s home to CroisiEurope’s African safari headquarters. Here you'll find a collection of beautiful bungalows situated on either side of a luxurious main lodge, perfect for communal meals and sunset drinks on the terrace.
Though CroisiEurope specializes in river cruises, this trip is a departure from the traditional river cruise experience. Guests spend the first several days on land, taking day trips up and down the Zambezi and Chobe rivers, crisscrossing the points where Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe intersect.
Destinations include Botswana’s Chobe National Park, where a land safari offers the opportunity to spot herds of elephants, buffalo, and hippopotamuses, as well as giraffes, leopards, and lions.
It isn’t until day five that travelers board CroisiEurope’s African Dream for three nights of cruising on Lake Kariba, the 2,100 square mile body of water that straddles the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Lake Kariba is the world’s largest manmade lake by volume, and its creation displaced this once forested area’s natural wildlife. Hints of barren treetops still poke above the water, now teeming fish and water birds.
The boat docks at night, with its top deck becoming the perfect venue for after-dinner stargazing. One stop takes guests to Zimbabwe’s Matusadona National Park for another land safari. This was once a prime area for rhinoceros viewing, but poaching has made sightings increasingly rare. Elephants, antelope, and zebra are still spotted here.
This is one cruise where passengers don’t simply disembark and go home. The last leg of this CroisiEurope journey is a private flight to Victoria Falls. The last night is spent not in a riverboat cabin, but in hotel room with a balcony overlooking a watering hole frequented by elephants and buffalo.
Excursions on the last day include a hike through the national park that surrounds Victoria Falls and a morning helicopter ride above the falls. This is bound to impress any traveler because Victoria Falls dwarfs Niagara Falls and is actually the world’s largest falling sheet of water.